August Gale: A Father And Daughter's Journey Into The Storm Info

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Long before "The Perfect Storm" and
Hurricane
Sandy,
the 1935 August Gale roared Northeast. The surf raged along the
New York and New
Jersey
shores as the gale whirled toward
Newfoundland. Waves as tall as three-story
houses swamped ships; monster combers broke masts in two and swept every
man on deck into the raging sea. Scores of fishermen disappeared when
the "divil" descended on that August evening, and one
Newfoundland village would never be the same.

Pulitzer
Prize-winning journalist Barbara Walsh
takes
readers on an unforgettable voyage into her family history and her quest
to face the storms she encounters there. Like "The Perfect Storm,"
August Gale is a dramatic story of the sea and the courageous men who
fished for a living. A book that you won't want to put down. A terrific
summer read and book club pick. 

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.50

303 Ratings

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Reviews for August Gale: A Father And Daughter's Journey Into The Storm:

3

Aug 12, 2016

The author pursues her interest in family roots in Newfoundland and the impact of a terrible storm in 1935 that killed her great uncle Paddy and several cousins. It was an event Barbara’s father never talked about when she was growing up. His own father, Ambrose had left the tight Newfoundland community for a new life in New York City and then when he was a boy abandoned his mother for another woman and another life. The interest Barbara has in the past leads her to inspire an interest in her The author pursues her interest in family roots in Newfoundland and the impact of a terrible storm in 1935 that killed her great uncle Paddy and several cousins. It was an event Barbara’s father never talked about when she was growing up. His own father, Ambrose had left the tight Newfoundland community for a new life in New York City and then when he was a boy abandoned his mother for another woman and another life. The interest Barbara has in the past leads her to inspire an interest in her father in reconnecting with their family and pursuing the story and fate of Ambrose. For me, the lack of direct connection of Ambrose’s story to the tragic storm makes this a disjointed tale. Most other readers seem to get more mileage out of this story than me. It was moving to experience the father and daughter drawing out memories of surviving family members about the impact of 40 deaths on the small fishing community. However, I didn’t appreciate the quality and content of the reconstructed dialogue and life of people at the time of the storm. Because there were no surviving witnesses among the fishermen in the storm, the experience is beyond reach. I guess I am spoiled by the fine evocative writing of books like The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea and In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. ...more
5

Sep 10, 2012

This is one of the saddest and most moving stories I have read in quite a while. It recalls the effect a devastating and tragic hurricane that stuck Newfoundland in August 1935 and the cost to one family. The storm leaves the Walsh family in tatters. The husband, captain of a fishing schooner, and three sons lost to the storm, a brother of the lost captain learns of the storm and abandons his family.

The hopeful part is that, through the efforts of one member of the Walsh family, the entire story This is one of the saddest and most moving stories I have read in quite a while. It recalls the effect a devastating and tragic hurricane that stuck Newfoundland in August 1935 and the cost to one family. The storm leaves the Walsh family in tatters. The husband, captain of a fishing schooner, and three sons lost to the storm, a brother of the lost captain learns of the storm and abandons his family.

The hopeful part is that, through the efforts of one member of the Walsh family, the entire story of the storm and it's effects is finally told. The real strength of the family eventually turns out to be stronger than the storm and stronger than one man's betrayal. It takes decades for the whole story to be told, but a splintered family is reunited.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a remarkable and powerful story of how one family overcame natural disaster and emotional failures to come back together. Read it. ...more
5

Sep 14, 2012

I just finished August Gale: A Father and Daughter’s Journey into the Storm by Barbara Walsh. This is an outstanding book. Barbara Walsh has very skillfully meshed three related stories. First is that of the catastrophic 1935 gale that took the lives of 40 Newfoundland fishermen including her great-uncle “Paddy” Walsh and several of her cousins, second is the story of her grandfather Ambrose Walsh who had emigrated to NY from Newfoundland to start and later abandon his own family and third, the I just finished August Gale: A Father and Daughter’s Journey into the Storm by Barbara Walsh. This is an outstanding book. Barbara Walsh has very skillfully meshed three related stories. First is that of the catastrophic 1935 gale that took the lives of 40 Newfoundland fishermen including her great-uncle “Paddy” Walsh and several of her cousins, second is the story of her grandfather Ambrose Walsh who had emigrated to NY from Newfoundland to start and later abandon his own family and third, the effect that Ambrose’s actions had on her dad, Ronald and her uncle William Patrick (the namesake of the drowned fisherman) and their mother.

The book alternates between the three story lines in the context of and the author’s trip, accompanied by her dad, to Marystown, Newfoundland during which she unraveled the story of the gale and she and her dad came to know their relatives. All the story lines and the Marystown trip are well written and compelling. Even better they are seamlessly woven together.

Walsh is particularly strong on the human cost of these tragedies. Her descriptions of the grief of the women and children over the loss of their fathers, husbands and brothers and their plight in the following winter is especially poignant. The images she describes are haunting. Equally well done is her writing about the effects of Ambrose’s abandonment on Ambrose’s wife and well as on the author’s dad and uncle.

I simply can’t recommend this highly enough. ...more
5

Sep 14, 2012

This was a great book. The title August Gale is quite appropriate as many things happen in August. It is the birth month of the author and her father--both principle characters in the book; as well as the month that took the lives of the author's great uncle and three or his four sons. It is a book about a family tracing its routes and finding and renewing relationships that had long been relegated to the past.
No family I know was ever perfect, but in the author's, my own, and the families of my This was a great book. The title August Gale is quite appropriate as many things happen in August. It is the birth month of the author and her father--both principle characters in the book; as well as the month that took the lives of the author's great uncle and three or his four sons. It is a book about a family tracing its routes and finding and renewing relationships that had long been relegated to the past.
No family I know was ever perfect, but in the author's, my own, and the families of my close friends there are in addition to the love, devotion, and joys: secrets, hurt, and trial. Some families have hurt that lingers and others have hurt resolved quickly. And although most family issues can be mended over time, some can never be understood. This book places all of that on the table in a prose that draws the reader in and keeps them there.

The joy of their family's renewal intertwined with the sadness of the loss of life in the 1935 August Gale is a heart-wrenching yet heartwarming story of life. I can see why the author was awarded the Pulitzer Prize as well as many other awards (See Barbara Walsh on Wikipedia). It is a great book that warms the heart, even though it can also bring a few tears. My hat is off to the author and I applaud this great work about family and recommend it highly.

Would hope Hollywood would make a movie of it all as such a movie would do justice to the concept of family as well as pay tribute to the brave men of her family and their surrounding Newfoundland community who lost their lives to the sea on that tragic August night in 1935.

Bravo Zulu (Please search on Google if you do not recognize this phrase. It is a Naval term). ...more
4

May 05, 2012

As this book moves back and forth through time in two parallel narratives of heartrending loss and family ties over a century, the imagined portrayals of these real seafaring Newfoundlanders and those who waited at home come to life most vividly.
5

Sep 14, 2012

Having spent over 30 years in the oceasn business, this book has the making of an epic "sea story." It is superbly written. The author has managed to detach herself from a story to whoch she is very much attached, to the benefit of the reader. The rich storytelling will appeal to those who are interested in the sea, as well as those who experience a test of faith in their own lives. It is a story of reconciliation and, ultimately, hope.
5

Sep 14, 2012

My daughter and I love this book and have put it on the list for our book club to read in January. This book is unique in the way it was written which involves present day family and the families that have passed. We in particular loved reading about the fishermen and the lives that they chose to live. Passions about a chosen livelihood are rare there days and it made us cheer the men who work hard everyday to bring in the fish, plow the fields and work the farms.
5

Jun 07, 2013

"August Gale" by Barbara Walsh is beautifully written. A poignant story of family, relationships, and sailors' battles with the sea. Walsh is a gifted storyteller. She shares emotion without sentimentality, and you are there with her as she tells this tale. "August Gale" is a new classic that simply should not be missed. Add this book to your summer reading shelf, you will carry its story with you forever.
4

Jun 17, 2019

August Gale is a multi-layered story of family abandonment, betrayal and healing.

I ignored some of the editorial glitches and geographical errors and found Walsh's prose a little clunky at times but she writes beautifully and unerringly of life at sea - the overloaded dories, the setting of the lines the lack of sleep for 72 hours at a stretch and the depiction of the August storm which took so many lives. Part of her family's history.

Family secrets unfold. Her father's soul baring is honest August Gale is a multi-layered story of family abandonment, betrayal and healing.

I ignored some of the editorial glitches and geographical errors and found Walsh's prose a little clunky at times but she writes beautifully and unerringly of life at sea - the overloaded dories, the setting of the lines the lack of sleep for 72 hours at a stretch and the depiction of the August storm which took so many lives. Part of her family's history.

Family secrets unfold. Her father's soul baring is honest and heartfelt. Many family photographs, maps and index and footnotes were helpful in picturing the storm and location. ...more
0

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walsh (Sammy in the Sky, 2011) explores the ties that bound her own family despite death and desertion.The author writes about the almost mythic heroism of her ...Full Review
3

Jan 11, 2014

An interesting book about a massive storm off the coast of Newfoundland in 1935 and its impact on one family. The author is very good about writing the details of the story, but I found her writing about the family emotions to be weak.
4

Jul 27, 2015

An excellent read for the historical information on the founding of and culture of Newfoundland if nothing else. But there are alsothe themes of the pull of "home" and of the bonds of family no matter how those bonds have been stretched. Finally there is a more personal story of damage to a young son when the father abandons one family for a new one.
5

Jun 05, 2013

Barbara Walsh has cleverly interwoven memoir of her family heritage with documentary of the 1935 gale into which perished several Newfoundland fishermen, many of them her relatives. With her father, they uncover mysteries of their roots, some deeply buried in untouchable terrain. Walsh's craft and story will hold you steady through the gale.
3

Sep 22, 2014

Written by a descendant of a Newfoundland sea captain, this story chronicles the life of this fishing village during desperate times. It was fascinating to learn of the constant fear they lived with, knowing their loved ones were at the mercy of the sea. An enlightened look at a maritime lifestyle.
4

Mar 24, 2013

August Gale was written by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Barbara Walsh. The book weaves two stories: that of a deadly 1935 Newfoundland hurricane, in which her great-uncle and other family members were lost at sea, and that of her father, who struggles with the abandonment of his father at age 11. Very well-written and compelling.
2

Jul 22, 2012

Even though I didn't rate this book that highly, I was really glad I read it. I did have to take a break in the middle (which is unusual for me) but I am glad to have finished it. I think this would be of more interest to someone from Newfoundland. I found the descriptions of the fishing process interesting.
5

Mar 16, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed this heart wrenching memoir. Barbara Walsh skillfully interweaves three stories. She brings to life the Newfoundland fishing village of 1935 and the fateful gale, a father's inexplainable desertion of his family, and the effects of long ago events on a present day family. This book is a "page turner".
4

Sep 22, 2012

A great read for anyone who loves seafaring stories (a la The Perfect Storm) or has dug into their family history and enjoys a good genealogical hunt. Walsh transitions smoothly between the hurricane of the past and the turmoil her family faces while uncovering their own history. Pretty amazing to be able to trace the history to such a tight-knight community and be able to travel to the places that tie the past and present together. Really enjoyable and I highly recommend it.
5

Aug 26, 2012

The gripping true story of a grand-daughter's search for the truth about her absent grandfather and the family he lost in the famous August gale in Newfoundland in August 1935. It chronicles her father's acceptance of her search and the resulting affects on the immediate and newly-found extended families as well as the stories of the lives of the men who lost their lives in 1935's devastating 'perfect storm'.
3

May 01, 2013

Liked "August Gale," the interwoven stories of the 1935 hurricane that hit the east coast of Newfoundland, taking many dorrymen and captains, and the history of Walsh's father's family, especially the tales of Paddy Walsh and his children and grandchildren. The desertion of Ambrose, Walsh's grandfather, deeply scarred her father Ron, who bore the scars throughout his life.
Lots to learn about hard fishing and hard times in isolated places. And lots to think about regarding family "secrets" and Liked "August Gale," the interwoven stories of the 1935 hurricane that hit the east coast of Newfoundland, taking many dorrymen and captains, and the history of Walsh's father's family, especially the tales of Paddy Walsh and his children and grandchildren. The desertion of Ambrose, Walsh's grandfather, deeply scarred her father Ron, who bore the scars throughout his life.
Lots to learn about hard fishing and hard times in isolated places. And lots to think about regarding family "secrets" and conflicts borne over time. And about healing and discovering truth.
Walsh's reportorial skills and experience serve her well - and readers, too. ...more
4

Jun 04, 2015

I am always up for a good seafaring tale and August Gale: delivered that in addition to a multi-layered story of family betrayal and redemption. Walsh writes simply and directly of the tragedy of the hurricane on a small fishing village in Newfoundland and weaves the story around the emotional exploration of long held family secrets. This honest and touching journey adds a rich depth to the telling of the bit of regional history that has echoed down through the generations of the Walsh family. I am always up for a good seafaring tale and August Gale: delivered that in addition to a multi-layered story of family betrayal and redemption. Walsh writes simply and directly of the tragedy of the hurricane on a small fishing village in Newfoundland and weaves the story around the emotional exploration of long held family secrets. This honest and touching journey adds a rich depth to the telling of the bit of regional history that has echoed down through the generations of the Walsh family. The plentiful family photographs and the maps and glossary were welcome aids to picturing the storm and environs. ...more
4

Oct 10, 2013

We had a lovely holiday in Nova Scotia about a year ago. We visited Lunenburg, amongst other places. They have a maritime museum, which also deals with the many lives lost in the fishing industry during the august gales. I was fascinated and was searching for a book on this topic, and this was the book I found - though it takes place in Newfoundland, not Nova Scotia.
I found it relatively good, though I was not the most interested in the story of a father abandoning his family, etc. My interest We had a lovely holiday in Nova Scotia about a year ago. We visited Lunenburg, amongst other places. They have a maritime museum, which also deals with the many lives lost in the fishing industry during the august gales. I was fascinated and was searching for a book on this topic, and this was the book I found - though it takes place in Newfoundland, not Nova Scotia.
I found it relatively good, though I was not the most interested in the story of a father abandoning his family, etc. My interest was in fishing and sailing before the advent of accurate weather forecasting and other technological advances that makes sailing so much safer these days. ...more
4

Jul 15, 2014

Great beach read! This true story moves fluidly between a terrible “August gale” in Newfoundland in 1935 (reminiscent of the Perfect Storm) that takes the lives of the author’s relatives, to the present day journey the author and her dad take to uncover the secrets of the gale as well as find an explanation for her grandfather’s abandonment of her father’s family, not once, but twice. The story is gut wrenching and uplifting at the same time. The author does a great job bringing the hardscrabble Great beach read! This true story moves fluidly between a terrible “August gale” in Newfoundland in 1935 (reminiscent of the Perfect Storm) that takes the lives of the author’s relatives, to the present day journey the author and her dad take to uncover the secrets of the gale as well as find an explanation for her grandfather’s abandonment of her father’s family, not once, but twice. The story is gut wrenching and uplifting at the same time. The author does a great job bringing the hardscrabble existence of fishing families in the early 20th century to life and connects the strength needed for this existence with her family’s success despite the devastating effects of loss and abandonment. A good reminder that we are the captains of our own ship! ...more
5

Apr 05, 2013

Barbara Walsh has crafted a riveting piece of nonfiction by skillfully weaving two lines of parallel events within three generations of her family. The author's Pulitzer Prize-winning research skills are showcased in the narrative's historical accuracy and honesty. Her humanity and compassion ground the work somewhere closer to the heart, reinforcing the idea that we are all the sum of our experiences and our decisions. There are inherited traits and tendencies, but we each build our castle (or Barbara Walsh has crafted a riveting piece of nonfiction by skillfully weaving two lines of parallel events within three generations of her family. The author's Pulitzer Prize-winning research skills are showcased in the narrative's historical accuracy and honesty. Her humanity and compassion ground the work somewhere closer to the heart, reinforcing the idea that we are all the sum of our experiences and our decisions. There are inherited traits and tendencies, but we each build our castle (or shack) on those foundations. Here is the story of a man who found the courage to be a better man than the example he was given and nurtured that bravery in others. I hope many more people will read the book, taking solace and strength from the lives and events it depicts. Readers will continue to weigh the wisdom of decisions made against their consequences long after the last page has been turned. ...more
4

Jun 12, 2015

August Gale: A Father and Daughter's Journey into the Storm (by Barbara Walsh) is the current read for the South Berwick Library book group, and I expect there will be good discussion... apparently with the author in Skype with us. If you have seen the movie The Perfect Storm, you'll feel the same dread as Walsh little by little leads us towards the tragedies that resulted from the great August gale of 1935 that claimed over 40 fisherman's lives from her family in Marystown, Newfoundland. But August Gale: A Father and Daughter's Journey into the Storm (by Barbara Walsh) is the current read for the South Berwick Library book group, and I expect there will be good discussion... apparently with the author in Skype with us. If you have seen the movie The Perfect Storm, you'll feel the same dread as Walsh little by little leads us towards the tragedies that resulted from the great August gale of 1935 that claimed over 40 fisherman's lives from her family in Marystown, Newfoundland. But the book is so much more than what she set out to write, which was the story of her Uncle Paddy (one of those lost in that storm), because with the decision to research this storm, this born American woman unearths her own father's past which he has stubbornly refused to talk about all his grown life to either his daughters or his wife. For one of Paddy's brothers, the youngest in the Walsh family of those days, had left for America rather than go to sea, and that brother became Barbara Walsh's grandfather, a grandfather she didn't know at all, because long ago he walked out (twice, in fact) on his own wife and two sons. It is this Ambrose that Barbara's father Ronald has refused to talk about. In the search for details of the storm's impact on the Walsh family, Ronald finally reveals his own story and recovers much... of his past and his present. All losses in our lives hurt us, and those done by the living hurt no less than those done by the hand of fate. Hurt lingers. This is all a true story, and sometimes is is challenging to keep all the people in the different generations straight, but it is quite captivating overall. The strength of family is a powerful thing; I have so little that the book left me feeling a bit adrift on this gloomy rainy day. Early onset cabin fever, I think! But the rain is much needed, and balancing this book with something lighter will set things aright! ...more

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